Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) are in a dead heat in the Pennsylvania Senate race, according to a poll released on Monday.
A Commonwealth Leaders Fund poll found that Sen. Bob Casey leads by only two points, with Casey at 47 percent, Barletta at 45 percent, and 6.1 percent of Pennsylvania voters undecided. The poll had a 3.6-point margin of error, making the Pennsylvania Senate race a virtual toss-up.
The poll also weighted heavily for a significant Democrat turnout that outpaces previous “Democratic waves.” The poll suggested that Democrats will have a five-point turnout advantage over Republicans. However, if Democrat turnout drops below five percent over Republicans, the Commonwealth suggests it could spell trouble for Sen. Casey’s chances of getting re-elected.
The survey also found that a majority of Pennsylvania voters, 53 percent, strongly or somewhat approve of how President Donald Trump handles the presidency.
Congressman Barletta hopes to unseat the Democrat senator in the 2018 midterm elections. Barletta was one of the first Republican congressmen to endorse Donald Trump during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries and has championed Trump’s America First agenda of building a wall, cracking down on illegal immigration, and combatting sanctuary cities.
Last week, Barletta chastised Sen. Casey for supporting sanctuary cities. Juan Ramon Vasquez, a 46-year old Honduran national, was sentenced to two years in jail for entering the country illegally. Vasquez raped a five-year-old after Philadelphia, a sanctuary city, ignored an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer and released him.
Barletta asked rhetorically in a statement to Breitbart News, “How would Bob Casey justify his support for sanctuary cities to the family of the little girl who was raped? Does Bob Casey believe it was a sanctuary city for them?”
Sen. Casey voted against legislation in 2016 to defund sanctuary cities, including Philadelphia, as well as Kate’s Law, which imposes harsher penalties on illegal immigrants who re-enter the United States. Kate’s Law would have hit Vasquez, who re-entered the country after being deported.
“If someone is deported for a criminal conviction then we need to make sure they are prevented from ever coming back into this country,” Sen. Casey said in a 2016 statement.
Congressman Barletta said last year that “everyone’s family is put at risk” by sanctuary cities.
During a campaign rally in August, President Trump labeled the Pennsylvania Democrat as “Sleeping Bob Casey” and slammed him for opposing his legislative agenda.
“Bob Casey is for open borders,” Trump added.
The president also praised Barletta. “We need Republicans. We need Lou Barletta. He is tough,” Trump said.